PATUXENT RIVER, Md.—The business financial manager (BFM) workforce was critical to the command’s receipt of an outstanding report card from Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller) (ASN(FM&C)), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) BFMs learned Oct. 11.
“The command was recognized for superb ‘professionalism and expertise’ in budgeting, impressive reductions in funds that expire or cancel and outstanding management of obligated funding,” said Todd Washington, NAVAIR’s director, Program and Business Analysis Department, as he kicked off the eighth annual AIR-7.8 Headquarters Award for Excellence in Financial Management Service ceremony at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
“The effort was a total team sport with the combination of BFMs and Comptroller analysts working closely together,” he said.
Established in 2011, the excellence in service award acknowledges those BFMs who focus on customer and program needs to find new methods of meeting or exceeding customer and program expectations. The award also acknowledges an individual’s efforts in improving customer service and promoting quality of work life.
Twenty-three BFMs were nominated this year for their exceptional customer support, with 14 in the BFM category and nine in the lead category.
“BFMs are the grease that keeps the wheels of our organization going. They come with such heart and dedication, which is invaluable,” said Greg Yellman, deputy assistant commander for Corporate Ops and Total Force. Yellman, a plank owner in the establishment of the Business Financial Management Community in 2000, presented the awards.
Yellman also encouraged business financial managers to continue honing their skills through online training.
“I want to challenge all BFMS for the upcoming year to focus on data analytics and predictive capabilities. There are many new classes on NAVAIR University to enroll in so you can help ensure your customers, the command and the Navy are improving mission performance” Yellman said.
Amid cheers and applause, Washington introduced each nominee with a walk-up song and album cover as they accepted their awards.
Shelly Wood, Logistics and Industrial Competency deputy BFM, received the lead BFM award for her leadership working with FMB on funding policy for crash-damaged and special rework inductions and coordinating with ASN(FM&C), Office of the Secretary of Defense and Congress to recover $44.6 million in Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers revenue due to significantly degraded aircraft conditions.
Motivated by providing the fleet with the best product possible, Wood said she attributes her leadership style to “encouraging two-way communication with my team by requesting options and thoughts on best ways to approach an issue. I strive to treat people respectfully and professionally by building a mutual trust where they know their efforts are valued and recognized, and in turn, empowering and challenging them.”
Her advice to others is to see “every situation as a learning opportunity, especially those you are under fire to complete!”
She also attributes her success to teamwork. “I have the pleasure of working with the greatest team! Everyone is always willing to step in and lend a helping hand,” Wood said.
This year’s winner in the BFM category is Vicki Burroughs, foreign military sales (FMS) BFM supporting the International Program Office.
Burroughs’ nomination package was endorsed by more than 80 FMS employees in recognition of her role as the resident expert on all things related to FMS financial management. She works with every NAVAIR FMS BFM, civilian and contractor across all field activities.
“When those you are working for in the FMS community truly appreciate all you do, it helps motivate me and keeps me moving forward,” Burroughs said.
Early in her career, Burroughs found it was not always easy to find an FMS resource. “I told myself that if I could help my fellow FMS community, I would,” she said.
For Burroughs, Jane Downer, a former lead BFM, was a role model and mentor who wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and take on work that needed to be done.